House sends unemployment compensation bill to governor

Legislation that permits the Division of Employment Security to recoup incorrectly claimed or overpaid unemployment benefits is on its way to Governor Nixon’s desk for his signature.

Senate Bill 702, sponsored by Sen. Brian Munzlinger, gives authority to the division to reclaim:

• Overpaid unemployment compensation benefits;
• Benefits obtained by reason of nondisclosure or misrepresentation of a material fact; or
• Benefits obtained by reason of error, omission, or lack of knowledge of a material fact on the part of the Division of Employment Security through billing, setoffs against state and federal tax refunds, intercepts of lottery winnings, and collection efforts as provided under current law.

The legislation further requires 15% of payments made toward a penalty assessed for benefits fraudulently received to be immediately deposited into the state unemployment compensation fund. The remaining penalty amount due is credited to the special employment security fund.

Current law states that any person who receives unemployment compensation benefits as a result of error or lack of knowledge of material fact on the part of the Division, shall have such sums of benefits deducted from future benefits, after an opportunity for a fair hearing.

The bill gives the Division the discretion, after an opportunity for a fair hearing, to either deduct the sums of wrongfully paid benefits from future benefits payable to the individual or require repayment to the Division the amount of benefits wrongfully received.

Senate Bill 702 also picked up an amendment that includes language on taxi cab drivers.

Governor Nixon will have until mid July to decide what to do with bills that arrive on his desk this week. If he signs or does not sign bills, they become law. He can also veto legislation which will become eligible for overriding during the veto override session in September.